Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 3:01 pm | Fair 75º


Santa Barbara Conservancy Honored for Architectural History Book

'Santa Barbara ~ A Guide to El Pueblo Viejo' explores the past through city's signature Hispanic design theme

From left: Anne Petersen, book designer Steve Hausz, co-author Mary Louise Days, Michael Imwalle, Donald Sharpe, Stella Larson, co-author Richard Oglesby, and Terease Chin.
From left: Anne Petersen, book designer Steve Hausz, co-author Mary Louise Days, Michael Imwalle, Donald Sharpe, Stella Larson, co-author Richard Oglesby, and Terease Chin. (Santa Barbara Conservancy)

The Santa Barbara Conservancy has received this year’s George and Vivian Obern Preservation Stewardship Award for its book Santa Barbara ~ A Guide to El Pueblo Viejo.

Presented by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP), the annual award recognizes individuals or organizations that demonstrate outstanding preservation work in the region. The honor was presented during an awards ceremony at the Presidio Chapel in Santa Barbara on Jan. 21.

“I have kept a copy of the first edition of Santa Barbara: El Pueblo Viejo within arm’s reach on my desk for years, and coveted its tattered pages. We congratulate the Santa Barbara Conservancy on bringing this important resource back into print with updated research and beautiful images, once again accessible to all,” said Anne Petersen, SBTHP executive director.

“I was given a copy of the first edition of Santa Barbara: El Pueblo Viejo many months ago. When I finally got around to reading it, I couldn’t put it down," said Terease Chin, SBTHP Board president

"Thank you to the Santa Barbara Conservancy for updating the book and allowing us to connect the past and present of Santa Barbara through its images and content,” Chin said.

Published in November, Santa Barbara ~ A Guide to El Pueblo Viejo explores the city’s extraordinary modern history by way of surveying its alluring Spanish-inspired architecture. A first edition, titled Santa Barbara: El Pueblo Viejo, was published by the city of Santa Barbara in 1986.

The new edition features color photography, historical images, new maps and expanded text. The 294-page publication retails for $19.95 and is available in local bookstores and gift shops.

Santa Barbara achieved its signature Hispanic architectural theme through the enforcement of detailed design and landscaping codes in the mid-20th century.

Though the effort reached perhaps its fullest expression in the form of Santa Barbara’s magnificent courthouse, Santa Barbara ~ A Guide to El Pueblo Viejo reveals the fascinating history of many city structures large and small, including retail spaces, office buildings, modest dwellings, and churches.

The George and Vivian Obern Preservation Stewardship Award is named in honor of George and Vivian Obern, whose lifelong preservation work included their successful efforts to save the Thomas Hope House (built 1875 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978).

Recent recipients of the award have included the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation.

The SBTHP is committed to preserving, restoring, and interpreting historic sites in Santa Barbara County. In addition to managing sites such as El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, it engages in archaeological and historical research, and works to inform the public through restoration projects, exhibits, lectures, and school programs.

The Santa Barbara Conservancy was founded in 1998 to advocate for the recognition, preservation and revitalization of historic, architectural, and cultural resources in Santa Barbara County. Information is available at

— Tim Dougherty for Santa Barbara Conservancy.


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